The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 2019 National Safety Stand-Down takes place May 6-10. The Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers and employees to talk directly about safety. Employers can hold Stand-Down events by taking a break in the workday to discuss fall hazards and the importance of fall prevention, as well as other hazards and protective measures.
2019 is the sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down event. The goal of the Stand-Down program is to create an opportunity for managers and employees to review, discuss, understand, and improve safety programs. The program is specifically intended to target the construction industry, but anyone who uses workplace safety programs in any industry is encouraged to participate. Past participants include commercial construction companies, general industry employers, trade associations, and many more.
Why to Participate
The National Safety Stand-Down program was launched in 2014 to raise awareness of the severity of fall hazards in construction and the importance of preventing them. In 2017, 971 fatal injuries occurred in the construction industry, and 366 of them were falls from elevation. Unfortunately, those deaths could have been prevented with the correct fall protection equipment and training.
By participating in the National Safety Stand-Down, employers can communicate to their workers that employee safety is a top priority. It provides a specific time to review safety policies to ensure they are being implemented effectively. It can also provide a time for workers to express their safety concerns directly to management. This type of dialogue can help improve safety programs by identifying hazards that aren’t already addressed and updating protocols that aren’t effective.
How to Participate
OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down website provides guidelines on how to conduct a Stand-Down meeting at your facility. A good starting point is to look at your safety program and analyze what is working, what might need improvements, and whether you’re reaching your safety goals.
The meeting should review information with workers about workplace hazards in the facility, protective methods, and safety policies and expectations. Hands-on exercise can make the meeting more engaging and effective. OSHA’s website offers resources to use for the Stand-Down, including training materials, fall safety videos, and more.
You will also have to decide when to hold the Stand-Down meeting. The meeting can take place any time during the day, such as a scheduled break or lunch period. One way to create a greater impact with your Stand-Down meeting is to have the meeting at a time other than a regularly-scheduled break. Interrupting the normal routine of the workday may help workers to be more engaged in the meeting.
Participating in the OSHA National Safety Stand-Down is a great way to emphasize safety measures and practices aimed at preventing such fatalities. And with the resources OSHA provides as well as events that are free and open to the public, participation is easy. Companies that participate can also receive a Certificate of Participation from the OSHA website.